Obesity Risks Associated with COVID Spur Medi-Weightloss Boom
Weight Loss Franchise Grows to Meet National Safety Demand in Fight Against Pandemic
April 20, 2021 // Franchising.com // TAMPA, Fla. - Medi-Weightloss®, a proven weight loss program with an evidence-based and clinical approach grew exponentially over the last 12 months since COVID-19 began to severely impact the nation. They recently opened seven new locations with more opening soon, and since March 2020, treated over 36,000 patients who collectively lost over 270,000 pounds. System-wide revenue remained strong throughout the pandemic and this year looks even better. The growth of the national franchise brand was spurred by scientific evidence that obesity is one of the top treatable risk factors associated with COVID-19 complications, as Americans seek to prevent or reduce their chances of complications from the virus
“Our top focus has always been patient care. When the CDC began recommending quarantine, I immediately directed our leadership team to develop and implement COVID-19 specific modified medical and operations protocols which allowed providers and their staff to safely continue providing care to our patients,” said Edward Kaloust, Medi-Weightloss Founder and CEO. Even during the uncertainty and chaos the pandemic brought along, the Medi-Weightloss medical offices across the country remained open with CDC-guided modified protocols. A telemedicine platform was even implemented for those patients who were unable to safely come to their in-person visits.
Kaloust leads with long-term growth in mind and remained committed to communication through the pandemic, hosting weekly calls and encouraging franchisees to share best practices. To assist Franchisees in the early stages of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, he, without hesitation, announced a COVID-19 Franchise Assistance Program, which provided a reduction in fees to give franchisees more access to operating capital to stay open and retain their employees, which was key to continuing patient care. “This has been the most unpredictable challenge I have encountered in my entire career. I am extremely proud of our entire system for working together during this time and I am excited that we are now poised for even more growth and success as obesity and metabolic syndrome gain recognition as serious diseases and contributing factors to so many other chronic health conditions.”
Front and center in this growth are long-standing Medi-Weightloss franchisees, Christopher and Jeanine Tracy. The couple has a long history in Medi-Weightloss franchise ownership, having opened three clinics throughout the central Florida area prior to COVID-19. After the pandemic started, they opened additional locations in Lake Mary and Winter Garden. The Tracy’s saw a significant increase in their revenue during 2020 compared to 2019, as many patients noted fears of obesity being tied to COVID-19 complications risk as a key reason why they sought treatment.
“Opening a business during COVID-19 would normally be intimidating and daunting, but it made perfect sense for our line of work, as Americans want and need help to reduce their chances of experiencing further complications from this virus. Health and wellness goals have always been important, but now obesity has taken a new meaning for many during the pandemic,” said Jeanine. “We have a major opportunity to reduce health risks that come from excess body weight, and we’ve seen how impactful accessible weight loss programs are for our patients. Lowering our body mass index lowers COVID-19 complication risks, and that’s why we’re growing now.”
In regard to body mass index and obesity, data and studies have found:
- Obesity is associated with an approximately 2.4-fold higher risk of developing severe pneumonia in individuals with COVID-19 compared to those with normal weight.
- A BMI of >40 kg/m2 is associated with a 2.7-fold increased risk of death from COVID-19.
- Individuals with a BMI of >40 kg/m2 were six times more likely to be hospitalized.
- A BMI of >45 kg/m2 is associated with a 4-fold increased risk of death from COVID-19.
- The association between BMI and death from COVID-19 is higher in men and younger patients (<60 years).
Medi-Weightloss providers offer individualized programs proven to produce impactful results. According to a study published in the Journal of Public Health, patients reduced their weight by 14%, reduced body fat by 12%, and decreased their weight circumference by 5 inches after only 13 weeks. The prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome also reduced by 45%.
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